Advertisement

An Historical Perspective on ‘Linguistic Relativity’

  • James H. Stam
Part of the Studies in Applied Psycholinguistics book series (SAP)

Abstract

What is now commonly called the “principle of linguistic relativity” asserts a correlation between language and thinking either with regard to the specifics, the structure, the categories, or some other generalities of each. In its stronger form, it postulates that in some way the language of any given culture is the causal determinant of the patterns of thinking in that culture. In still another variation, “linguistic relativity calls attention to differences in cultural pattern, and to their importance for linguistic experience and.behavior” (Hymes, 1966, p. 114), or language and culture are viewed as reciprocally or co-determined. The principle is now best known from the works of Edward Sapir [1884–1939], professor of anthropology and linguistics in the Universities of Pennsylvania, Chicago, and Yale, and Benjamin Lee Whorf [1897–1941], a fire-prevention engineer in Hartford, Connecticut, by profession and a linguist by passionate avocation. The pertinent works were composed mainly during the 1920s and 1930s, and the hypothesis reached a broader audience through publication of collected essays by both men during the 1950s. It was then that the position received more extensive discussion, criticism, and evaluation by anthropologists, linguists, psychologists, and philosophers. Similar hypotheses have been recurrent in the history of the philosophy of language since the eighteenth century

Keywords

World View Linguistic Relativity Universal Rationality Selected Writing Linguistic Response 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Alexander, W. M. Johann Georg Hamann: Metacritic of Kant. Journal of the History of Ideas, 1966, 27, 137–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Basilius, H. Neo-Humboldtian ethnolinguistics. Word, 1952, 8, 95–105.Google Scholar
  3. Bene S. B. Wilhelm von Humboldt, Jacob Grimm, August Schleicher: Ein Vergleich ihrer Sprachauffassung. Winterthur: P. G. Keller, 1958.Google Scholar
  4. Boas, F. Introduction. In F. Boas (Ed.), Handbook of American Indian languages (Vol. 1). Washington: Government Printing Office-Smithsonian Institution, 1911.Google Scholar
  5. Brinton, D. G. The philosophic grammar of American languages, as set forth by William von Humboldt, with the translation of an unpublished memoir by him on the American verb. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 1885, 22, 332–352.Google Scholar
  6. Brown, R. L. Wilhelm von Humboldt’s conception of linguistic relativity (Janua linguarum, Series minor, no. 65). The Hague: Mouton, 1967.Google Scholar
  7. Brown, R. W. Words and things. Glencoe, Ill.: Free Press, 1958.Google Scholar
  8. Brown, R. W., & Lenneberg, E. H. A study in language and cognition. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 1954, 49, 454–462.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Burnham, R. W., & Clark, J. R. A test of hue memory. Journal of Applied Psychology, 1955, 39, 164–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Carroll, J. B. Linguistic relativity, contrastive linguistics, and language learning. International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching, 1963, 1, 1–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cassirer, E. Die Kantischen Elemente in Wilhelm von Humboldts Sprachphilosophie. In J. Binder (Ed.), Festschrift für Paul Hensel. Greiz i. V.: Ohag, 1923, pp. 105–127.Google Scholar
  12. Cassirer, E. [The philosophy of symbolic forms) (R. Mannheim, Trans.) (3 vols.). New Haven: Yale, 1953. (Originally published, 1923–1931.)Google Scholar
  13. Cassirer, E. Structuralism in modern linguistics. Word, 1945, 1, 99–120.Google Scholar
  14. Chomsky, N. Current issues in linguistic theory. (Janua linguarum, Series minor, no. 38). The Hague, Mouton, 1964.Google Scholar
  15. Chomsky, N. Cartesian linguistics: A chapter in the history of rationalist thought (Studies in Language, Noam Chomsky & Morris Halle, Eds.). New York: Harper & Row, 1966.Google Scholar
  16. Church, J. Language and the discovery of reality: A developmental psychology of cognition. New York: Vintage, 1961.Google Scholar
  17. Clark, R. T. Herder: His life and thought. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1955.Google Scholar
  18. Condillac, E. B., de. [An essay on the origin of human knowledge: Being a supplement to Mr. Locke’s Essay on the human understanding] (Mr. Nugent, Trans.). London: 1756. (Originally published, 1746.) Reprited with an Introduction by J. H. Stam, in R. W. Rieber (Ed.), Language, man and society: Foundations of the behavioral sciences. New York: AMS, 1974.Google Scholar
  19. Cordemoy, G., de. [A philosophic all discourse concerning speech, conformable to the Cartesian principles]. Savoy: 1668, (Originally published, 1666.) Reprinted with anGoogle Scholar
  20. Introduction by K. Uitti, in R. W. Rieber (Ed.), Language, man and society: Foundations of the behavioral sciences, New York: AMS, 1974.Google Scholar
  21. Cramer, J. J. Lieber Herders Metakritik. Zürich-Leipzig: Ziegler, 1800.Google Scholar
  22. De Vito, J. The psychology of speech and language: An introduction to psycholinguistics. New York: Random House, 1970.Google Scholar
  23. Diebold, A. R. A survey of psycholinguistic research. In C. E. Osgood & T. A. Sebeok (Eds.), Psycholinguistics: A survey of theory and research problems. Bloomington: University of Indiana Press, 1965.Google Scholar
  24. Gipper, H. Gibt es ein sprachliches Relativitäts-prinzip? Untersuchungen zur Sapir-Whorf Hypothese (Conditio humana: Ergebnisse aus den Wissenschaften vom Menschen; T. V. Uexküll and I. Grubrich-Simitis, Eds.). Stuttgart: Fischer, 1972.Google Scholar
  25. Hamann, J. G. Aesthetica in nuce: Eine Rhapsodie in kabbalistischer Prose (1762a). Kreuzzüge des Philologen. In J. Nadler (Ed.), Sämtliche Werke (Vol. II). Vienna: Herder, 1949–1957. pp. 195–218.Google Scholar
  26. Hamann, J. G. Versuch über eine akademische Frage (1762b). Kreuzzüge des Philologen. In J. Nadler (Ed.), Säliche Werke (Vol. II). Vienna: Herder, 1949–1957, pp. 119–126.Google Scholar
  27. Hamann, J. G. (Review of Kritik der reinen Vernunft by Immanuel Kant, 1781). In J. Nadler (Ed.), Sëliche Werke (Vol. III). Vienna: Herder, 1949–1957, pp. 275–280.Google Scholar
  28. Hamann, J. G. Metakritik über den Purismum der Vernunft (1784). In J. Nadler (Ed.), Säliche Werke (Vol. III). Vienna: Herder, 1949–1957, pp. 281–289.Google Scholar
  29. Hamburg, C. H. Symbol and reality: Studies in the philosophy of Ernst Cassirer. The Hague: Nijhoff, 1956.Google Scholar
  30. Harnois, G. Les théories du langage en France de 1660 à 1821 (Etudes françaises, Vol. 17). Paris: Société d’édition “Les belles lettres” [1928].Google Scholar
  31. Heider, E. R. “Focal” color areas and the development of color names. Developmental Psychology, 1971, 4, 447–455.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Heider, E. R. Probabilities, sampling, and ethnographic method: The case of Dani color names. Man, 1972, 7, 448–466.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Heider, E. R. Universals in color naming and memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1972, 93, 10–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Heider, E. R. (under Eleanor H. Rosch). On the internal structure of perceptual and semantic categories. In T. E. Moore (Ed.), Cognitive development and the acquisition of language. New York: Academic Press, 1973, pp. 111–144.Google Scholar
  35. Herder, J. G. Ueber die neuere deutsche Literatur (1766–1767). In B. Suphan (Ed.), Sämmtliche Werke (Vol. I). Berlin: Weidmann, 1877–1913.Google Scholar
  36. Herder, J. G. Versuch einer Geschichte der lyrischen Dichtkunst (1767?). In B. Suphan (Ed.), Sämmtliche Werke (Vol. XXXII). Berlin: Weidman, 1877–1913, pp. 85–140.Google Scholar
  37. Herder, J. G. Ueber die neuere deutsche Literatur: Fragmente (2nd ed.) (1768). In B. Suphan (Ed.), Sämmtliche Werke (Vol. II). Berlin: Weidman, 1877–1913, pp. 1–108.Google Scholar
  38. Herder, J. G. Abhandlung über den Ursprung der Sprache (1770–1772). In B. Suphan (Ed.), Sämmtliche Werke (Vol. V). Berlin: Weidman, 1877–1913, pp. 1–147.Google Scholar
  39. Herder, J. G. Vom Erkennen und Empfinden der menschlichen Seele (1778). In B. Suphan (Ed.), Sämmtliche Werke (Vol. VIII). Berlin: Weidman, 1877–1913.Google Scholar
  40. Herder, Johann Gottfried. Vernunft und Sprache: Metakritik zur Kritik der reinen Vernunft (1799). In B. Suphan (Ed.), Sämmtliche Werke (Vol. XXI). Berlin: Weidman, 1877–1913.Google Scholar
  41. Herder, J. G. Kalligone (1800). In B. Suphan (Ed.), Sämmtliche Werke (Vol. XXII). Berlin: Weidman, 1877–1913.Google Scholar
  42. Hoijer, H. (Ed.). Language in culture: Proceedings of a conference on the interrelationships of language and other aspects of culture. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954.Google Scholar
  43. Hook, S. (Ed.). Language and philosophy: A symposium. New York: New York University Press, 1969.Google Scholar
  44. Hovelacque, A. [The science of language: Linguistics, philology, etymology] (A. H. Keane, Trans.). London: Chapman & Hall, Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1877.Google Scholar
  45. Humboldt, W. von. Ueber das vergleichende Sprachstudium in Beziehung auf die verschiedenen Epochen der Sprachentwicklung (1820). In A. Leitzmann (Ed.), Gesammelte Schriften (Vol. IV). Berlin: Königlich Preussische Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1903–1935, pp. 1–34.Google Scholar
  46. Humboldt, W. von. Ueber die Verschiedenheit des menschlichen Sprachbaues und ihren Einfluss auf die geistige Entwicklung des Menschengeschlechts (1835). In A. Leitzmann (Ed.), Gesammelte Schriften (Vol. VII). Berlin: Königlich Preussische Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1903–1935.Google Scholar
  47. Hymes, D. H. On typology of cognitive styles in language (With examples from Chinookan). Anthropological Linguistics, 1961, 3, 22–54.Google Scholar
  48. Hymes, D. H. Two types of linguistic relativity (With examples from Amerindian ethnography). In W. Bright (Ed.), Sociolinguistics: Proceedings of the UCLA Sociolinguistics Conference, 1964 (Janua linguarum, Series maior, no. 20). The Hague: Mouton, 1966, pp. 114–167.Google Scholar
  49. Jost, L. Sprache als Werk und wirkende Kraft: Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte und Kritik der energetischen Sprachauffassung seit Wilhelm von Humboldt (Sprache und Dichtung, Neue Folge, no. 6). Bern: Paul Haupt, 1960.Google Scholar
  50. Juliard, P. Philosophies of language in eighteenth-century France (Janua linguarum, Series minor, no. 18). The Hague: Mouton, 1970.Google Scholar
  51. Kiesewetter, J. G. C. Prüfung der Herderschen Metakritik zur Kritik der reinen Vernunft (2 vols.). Berlin: C. Quien, 1799–1800.Google Scholar
  52. Kroeber, A. L. (Ed.). Anthropology today: An encyclopedic inventory. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1953.Google Scholar
  53. Kuehner, P. Theories on the origin and formation of language in the eighteenth century in France. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1944.Google Scholar
  54. Langer, S. K. Philosophy in a new key: A study in the symbolism of reason, rite, and art. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1942.Google Scholar
  55. Leibrecht, W. [God and man in the thought of Hamann] (J. H. Stam, Trans.). Philadelphia: Fortress, 1966.Google Scholar
  56. Lenneberg, E. H. Cognition in ethnolinguistics. Language, 1953, 29, 463–471.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Lenneberg, E. H. Color naming, color recognition, color discrimination: A re-appraisal. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 1961, 12, 375–382.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Lenneberg, E. H., & Roberts, J. M. The language of experience (Indiana University Publications in Anthropology and Linguistics, Mem. 13). Baltimore: Waverly, 1956.Google Scholar
  59. Mendelssohn, M. (with T. Abbt, G. E. Lessing, & F. Nicolai). Briefe, die neueste Literature betreffend. Berlin: Friedrich Nicolai, 1759–1765.Google Scholar
  60. Michaelis, J. D. [A dissertation on the influence of opinions on language, and of language on opinions]. London: Owen and Bingley. Reprinted with an Introduction by J. H. Stam, in R. W. Rieber (Ed.), Language, man and society: Foundations of the behavioral sciences New York: AMS, 1973. (Originally published, 1759/1762.)Google Scholar
  61. Miller, R. L. The linguistic relativity principle and Humboldtian ethnolinguistics (Janua linguarum, Series minor, no. 67). The Hague: Mouton, 1968.Google Scholar
  62. Müller, F. M. Lectures on the science of language (2 vols.). London: Longman, Green, Longman, & Roberts, 1861–1864.Google Scholar
  63. Müller, F. M. The science of thought (2 vols.). New York: Scribner’s 1887.Google Scholar
  64. O’Flaherty, J. C. Unity and language: A study in the philosophy of Johann Georg Hamann (University of North Carolina Studies in the Germanic languages and literatures, no. 6). Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1952.Google Scholar
  65. Percy, W. The message in the bottle. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1975.Google Scholar
  66. Porzig, W. Der Begriff der inneren Sprachform. Indogermanische Forschungen, 1923, 41, 150–169.Google Scholar
  67. Rink, F. T. Mancherley zur Geschichte der metacritischen Invasion: Nebst einem Fragment einer älteren Metakritik und einigen Aufsätzen, die Kantische Philosophie betreffend. Königsberg: 1800.Google Scholar
  68. Sapir, E. Herder’s prize essay, “Ueber den Ursprung der Sprache,” and its place in the discussion of the origin of language. Unpublished master’s thesis, Columbia University, New York, 1905.Google Scholar
  69. Sapir, E. Herder’s “Ursprung der Sprache.” Modern Philology, 1907, 5, 109–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Sapir, E. Language: An introduction to the study of speech. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1921.Google Scholar
  71. Sapir, E. The Status of linguistics as a science (1929). In D. G. Mandelbaum (Ed.), Selected writings of Edward Sapir in language, culture and personality. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1949, pp. 160–166.Google Scholar
  72. Sapir, E. Language (1933). In D. G. Mandelbaum (Ed.), Selected writings of Edward Sapir in language, culture and personality. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1949, pp. 7–32.Google Scholar
  73. Saporta, S. (Ed.). Psycholinguistics: A book of readings. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1961.Google Scholar
  74. Sayce, A. H. Introduction to the science of language (2 vols.). London: Kegan Paul, 1880.Google Scholar
  75. Schmidt, S. J. Sprache und Denken als sprachphilosophisches Problem von Locke bis Wittgenstein. The Hague: Nijhoff, 1968.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Slobin, D. I. Psycholinguistics. Glenview, ill.: Scott, Foresman, 1974.Google Scholar
  77. Stam, J. H. Inquiries into the origin of language: The fate of a question (Studies in language, N. Chomsky & M. Halle, Eds.). New York: Harper & Row, 1976.Google Scholar
  78. Steiner, G. After Babel: Aspects of language and translation. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975.Google Scholar
  79. Steinthal, H. Die Sprachwissenschaft Wilhelm von Humboldts und die Hegel’sche Philosophie. Berlin: Dümmler, 1848.Google Scholar
  80. Steinthal, H. Der Ursprung der Sprache im Zusammenhange mit den letzten Fragen alles Wissens. Berlin: Dümmler, 1851.Google Scholar
  81. Steinthal, H. Grammatik, Logik, und Psychologie: Ihre Principle n und ihr Verhältnis s zu einander. Berlin: Dümmler, 1855.Google Scholar
  82. Steinthal, H. Einleitung in die Psychologie und Sprachwissenschaft. Berlin: Dümmler, 1871.Google Scholar
  83. Suphan, B. Einleitung (1881). In B. Suphan (Ed.), Sämmtliche Werke (Vol. XXI). Berlin: Weidman, 1877–1913.Google Scholar
  84. Tax, S., Eiseley, L. C., Rouse, I., & Voegelin, C. F. (Eds.). An appraisal of Anthropology today. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1953.Google Scholar
  85. Trier, J. Das sprachliche Feld. Neue Jahrbücher für Wissenschaft und Bildung, 1934, 10, 428–449.Google Scholar
  86. Turgot, A. R. J. Discours sur les avantages que l’établissement du christianisme a procuré au genre humain (1750). In P. D. de Nemours (Ed.), Oeuvres (Vol. II). Paris: de Delance, 1808–1811, pp. 17–51.Google Scholar
  87. Turgot, A. R. J. Discours sur les progrès successifs de l’esprit humain (1750). In P. D. de Nemours (Ed.), Oeuvres (Vol. II). Paris: de Delance, 1808–1811, pp. 52–92.Google Scholar
  88. Unger, R. Hamanns Sprachtheorie im Zusammenhange seines Denkens: Grundlegung zu einer Würdigung der geistesgeschichtlichen Stellung des Magus im Norden (2 vols.). Munich: Beck’sehe Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1905.Google Scholar
  89. Unger, R. Hamann und die Aufklärung: Studien zur Vorgeschichte des romantischen Geistes im 18. Jahrhunderts (2 vols.). Tübingen: Max Niemeyer, 1925.Google Scholar
  90. Waterman, J. T. Benjamin Lee Whorf and linguistic field theory. Southwestern Journal of Anthropology, 1957, 13, 201–211.Google Scholar
  91. Weisgerber, L. Das Problem der inneren Sprachform und seine Bedeutung für die deutsche Sprache. Germanisch-Romanische Monatsschrift, 1926, 14, 241–256.Google Scholar
  92. Wheelwright, P. Metaphor and reality. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1962.Google Scholar
  93. Wheelwright, P. The burning fountain: A study in the language of symbolism (rev. ed.). Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1968.Google Scholar
  94. Whitney, W. D. Language and the study of language. New York: Scribner’s, 1867.Google Scholar
  95. Whorf, B. L. On psychology [1927?a] In J. B. Carroll (Ed.), Language, thought, and reality: Selected writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf. Cambridge, Mass.: M. I. T. Press, 1956, pp. 40–42.Google Scholar
  96. Whorf, B. L. On the connection of ideas [1927b] In J. B. Carroll (Ed.), Language, thought, and reality: Selected writings of Benjamin Lee Worf Cambridge, Mass.: M.I.T. Press, 1956, pp. 35–39.Google Scholar
  97. Whorf, B. L. Aztec linguistics [1928]. Quoted in J. B. Carroll (Ed.), Introduction to Language, thought, and reality: Selected writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf Cambridge, Mass.: M.I.T. Press, 1956, p. 25.Google Scholar
  98. Whorf, B. L. A linguistic consideration of thinking in primitive communities [1936a]. In J. B. Carroll (Ed.), Language, thought, and reality: Selected writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf Cambridge, Mass.: M.I.T. Press, 1956, pp. 65–86.Google Scholar
  99. Whorf, B. L. The punctual and segmentative aspects of verbs in Hopi (1936b). In J. B. Carroll (Ed.), Language, thought, and reality: Selected writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf Cambridge, Mass.: M.I.T. Press, 1956, pp. 51–56.Google Scholar
  100. Whorf, B. L. Discussion of Hopi linguistics [1937]. In J. B. Carroll (Ed.), Language, thought, and reality: Selected writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf Cambridge, Mass.: M.I.T. Press, 1956, pp. 102–111.Google Scholar
  101. Whorf, B. L. Some verbal categories of Hopi (1938). In J. B. Carroll (Ed.), Language, thought, and reality: Selected writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf Cambridge, Mass.: M.I.T. Press, 1956, pp. 112–124.Google Scholar
  102. Whorf, B. L. Gestalt technique of stem composition in Shawnee (1940a). In J. B. Carroll (Ed.), Language, thought, and reality: Selected writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf Cambridge, Mass.: M.I.T. Press, 1956, pp. 160–172.Google Scholar
  103. Whorf, B. L. Linguistics as an exact science (1940b). In J. B. Carroll (Ed.), Language, thought, and reality: Selected writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf Cambridge, Mass.: M.I.T. Press, 1956, pp. 220–232.Google Scholar
  104. Whorf, B. L. Science and linguistics (1940c). In J. B. Carroll (Ed.), Language, thought, and reality: Selected writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf Cambridge, Mass.: M.I.T. Press, 1956, pp. 207–219.Google Scholar
  105. Whorf, B. L. Languages and logic (1941). In J. B. Carroll (Ed.), Language, thought, and reality: Selected writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf Cambridge, Mass.: M.I.T. Press, 1956, pp. 233–245.Google Scholar
  106. Whorf, B. L. Language, mind, and reality (1942). In J. B. Carroll (Ed.), Language, thought, and reality: Selected writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf Cambridge, Mass.: M.I.T. Press, 1956, pp. 246–270.Google Scholar
  107. Whorf, B. L. Grammatical categories (1945, posthumous). In J. B. Carroll (Ed.), Language, thought, and reality: Selected writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf Cambridge, Mass.: M.I.T. Press, 1956, pp. 87–101.Google Scholar
  108. Whorf, B. L. An American Indian model of the universe (1950, posthumous). In J. B. Carroll (Ed.), Language, thought, and reality: Selected writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf Cambridge, Mass.: M.I.T. Press, 1956, pp. 57–64.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • James H. Stam
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Philosophy and ReligionUpsala CollegeEast OrangeUSA

Personalised recommendations